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Celebrating History: Beer detained in the Havre jail


By Emily Mayer

Those looking to enjoy adult libations during the upcoming Great Northern Stampede were sorely disappointed. The Havre Plaindealer ran this article on the front page of its June 28, 1919, edition:


One Thousand Quarts Reposing There as Result of Raid

Since Wednesday there have been reposing the city jail 1,000 or more quarts of beer which some have thought were intended to be used as thirst quenchers during the week of the coming Great Northern Montana Stampede. The beer was seized during a raid on the basement under the Liberty hotel by federal officers and as a result Tom Casey the proprietor and a man by the name of Schuler are at liberty under bonds of $1,500 each. They are charged with having in their custody a still without registering it with the revenue collector and when brought before Commissioner Elwell both waived preliminary hearing and were bound over under bonds of $1,500 each.

Mr. Casey when seen appeared confident that he had not been guilty of any violation and from the reports of the open way in which the stuff was handled it appears improbable that he was intending anything illegal. According to one report the deputy U. S. marshal went into the boiler room which opens right into the room where the beer was found and stood watching over whoever was engaged there without anyone making any objections or attempt to conceal the nature of what was going on. It is also said that at no time was there any obstacle to prevent anyone’s going down there and it is said that the odor of hops had been so strong at times outside that anyone could recognize it passing by, but it had not aroused any suspicion of any law violation among any local officials. As far as can be learned there have been no city or county actions directed against the place and this again makes it seem very probable that there could have been such a flagrant violation. The county officials especially are considered very zealous in their efforts to unearth all violations as they were largely elected upon a platform committing them to such a course.

The actions of the Havre City Council were chronicled in the Plaindealer as well:


The city council met in adjourned regular session Wednesday evening with all the aldermen present except C. F. Morris. This was the evening for hearing protests against Resolution No. 332, creating a special improvement sewer district No. 86. After considerable discussion the resolution was defeated by a vote of four to one. This district would have taken a large block of property owned by Dr. J. A. Wright who was among the original signers of the petition. The Doctor has now decided that it is inadvisable to put through this improvement at this time and wanted his property taken out. This was impossible to do, so the only thing left was to defeat the sewer resolution, leaving it to the property owners that so desire to try later to get up a district taking in those who desire such improvement.

The bids for water works extension were opened and P. H. Brader received a contract for some sixty-seven hundred dollars. There were only two other bidders, F. A. Baker of this city and G. W. Kemper of Minot. The bids were not very far apart as the highest, that of F. A. Baker, was only slightly over seven thousand dollars.

Another step in the preparation for the city to collect its own taxes this year was taken at the meeting Wednesday night, when City Treasurer Kendig was authorized to select a deputy ad take other necessary steps.

During the course of the evening the city council went into executive session and all spectators were asked to withdraw. As the city is not advertising for bids for a fire truck, it is assumed that this matter was one of the things under discussion in the executive session.

The Plaindealer also carried the heartbreaking story of a woman in Rudyard who committed suicide, the reason being her husband had filed for divorce. The cause was “two or three adultery allegations besides other sensational charges.” The couple, Eric and Laura Hawkins, came to Rudyard from Big Sandy and had lived in Rudyard for a little over a year. Mr. Hawkins owned the local drug store. Three weeks prior, Mr. Hawkins wrote to his wife’s father instructing him to come get his daughter. While she was away, he sent word to her that divorce proceedings had started, and she decided to return to Rudyard without her father. Her first attempt at suicide involved the consumption of chloral hydrate, but that attempt failed. About 11 a.m. Sunday, churchgoers heard two gun shots and notified Edward Mottas, the local constable. Upon entering the home, they found the body of Mrs. Hawkins. Her first shot had gone through her arm with the second shot proving fatal. Her body was taken back to her parents in Hudson, Wisconsin, for burial. Three letters were found among her effects; two to her husband and one to Mrs. Jenkins, who ran the local hotel. The Plaindealer printed all three letters along with a letter from Mr. Hawkins, which I’m sure sold some papers and got gossipy tongues wagging.

If you, a loved one or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please speak out. Talk to someone. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Suicide is preventable and resources are available. Please call 1-800-273-8255. The call is free and confidential.


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